When I found out I was joining the Grow Mama team, I tried to think of a topic or theme to write about. With all of the heart-wrenching news I come across on a daily basis, I wanted to write about something light and relatively mindless. After some soul-searching, I settled on one of my most embarrassing yet wildly entertaining past times – celebrity news.
And then Trump won. I decided to share an incident that shook and challenged me as a first-time mother. I was picking up my son from daycare when one of his caretakers asked me if I stayed up watching the election and how I felt about the results. The immensely high ratio of Trump/Pence signage decorating my suburban American neighbourhood gave me a basis for a quick back-of-the-envelope mental calculation: there was about a 90 percent chance the woman asking me was a Trump supporter.
The sinking feeling in my gut told me to do something I never would imagined myself doing pre-motherhood. I was a former Model United Nations delegate and anyone who knew me would tell you that I loved debating. My quick wit made me good at it too. But not today. I withheld my opinion in fear of it in some way negatively affecting my baby. I politely smiled and nodded as the woman told me how great it was that Trump won, how impressive his family looked, and how what he said about women wasn’t so bad.
As I walked out, I felt a strange mixture of pride and shame. I recognized at that point that my motherly protective instinct was far greater than any other instinct I had to smartly answer back–and trust me, that wasn’t easy! I was in awe of how effortlessly that maternal instinct kicked in. But I also felt a sense of shame. I am lucky he is not old enough to understand anything, but what if he was? How can I teach him to stand up for the truth and for what he knows is right when my heart wants nothing more than his safety and well-being? What kind of lesson would I be giving? I pray that as I grow along with my baby, I can navigate the answers to these questions.